If you have been reading this blog, you’d know that I’m positively obsessed with Italy! It’s my favourite destination, and I have travelled through it quite a bit – not just visiting the ‘grand tour’ cities of Venice, Florence and Rome (admittedly, great places all!), but also travelling through some little known regions.Italian cities, towns & villages are full of these lovely little lanes – some dark & narrow, others winding up (or down), some leading to quiet piazzas, others reaching a dead-end. So last week I posted a new series on Instagram – The Alleys of Italy. In case you missed it, here’s a recap. There are bonus photos not seen on Instagram, plus there’s a cool video at the end! Enjoy this little journey around Italy, through my lens, and get inspired to explore il bel paese. And follow me on Instagram to stay updated 🙂

Sirolo – Le Marche

I started off my ‘Alleys of Italy’ series with this gem from Sirolo, a town in Le Marche. The black & white cobbled stone pattern, the burnt sienna walls, the quintessentially Italian white Vespa, and the rolling greens of Marche’s countryside just visible at the far end – Sirolo is a pretty little town in the Ancona district of Le Marche, and is known for its pristine beaches. From its medieval town centre you can get a sweeping view of Marche’s Adriatic coastline, and of Monte Conero – a limestone mountain whose steep slopes slide straight down to the sapphire sea.

View of Monte Conero

 

Sirolo’s medieval town gate in the background

 

Montelupone – Le Marche

Montelupone is a sleepy hilltop town, one of the 18 villages in the region that have been conferred the orange flag to mark them as the most beautiful villages in Italy. An ancient, walled town, it dates back to the medieval ages, and you can still see old castle walls and well preserved gates. It was an autumn afternoon and there was hardly a soul about. I imagine this well dressed nonno had finished a lunch with amici at the Bar Gelateria Boccanera and was heading back home for the all important siesta. Ah, dolce far niente (the pleasure of doing nothing)… More about Montelupone in my earlier post – Beautiful small towns in Le Marche that will charm you.

Le Marche countryside
Entrance through one of the medieval gates

 

Piazza Armerina – Sicily

Piazza Armerina is in the province of Enna, central Sicily. The city of Piazza (as it was known earlier) dates back to the 11th century. All roads (and alleys) lead to the massive Baroque Cathedral, located on the highest point of this hilltop town. The area was inhabited since prehistoric times, evidenced by the incredibly rich & well preserved mosaics at the 4th-century Villa Romana del Casale, 3 kms from the town.

Piazza Armerina
One of the mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale

 

Ortigia – Sicily

Ortigia is a small island off Siracusa, Sicily. Myths and legends abound on this tiny island, which has a long history going back to the ancient Greeks. I loved its gorgeous seafront, overlooking the azure Mediterranean. Many of its pale pink & yellow houses are peeling, and there are vendesi signs (for sale) around. Yet, it’s a place to slow down, dream a bit, and maybe walk off into the sunset together…

Ortigia’s seafront
The Fountain of Diana

 

Venice – Veneto

Lose the map, you’ll be lost anyway in Venice. Step away from San Marco or Rialto, wander off into a side alley. And you will suddenly know why Venice was called La Serenissima (the most serene). Sit on the tiny bridge, you won’t be in anyone’s way. Watch the rhythm of the canal. From the open windows, voices will drift down to you. The aroma of a seafood risotto cooking in one of the kitchens upstairs might give you hunger pangs. Then go looking for a bacaro, get a glass of Prosecco & some cicchetti. This is the way to savour Venice… More about Venice in my earlier post – 5 reasons to love Venice.

Acqua Alta
The Grand Canal

 

 

And if you can’t get enough of Italy, here’s a bonus video – shot & edited by the husband, as we travelled through Italy (and Austria) in 2013. Music by Abhinav Bansal.

 

Hope you enjoyed that! Stay tuned for more travels around the world 🙂

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